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Move to require vendors to provide pest and building reports
Released 21 September 2010

A new law under consideration by the New South Wales Government requiring vendors to provide pest and building reports could backfire on property buyers, according to the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association (AEPMA). 

Potential buyers are currently responsible for ordering pest and building reports, usually using the services of independent industry experts.
But the hundreds of dollars they spend on inspection reports can be a waste if they miss out on the property.

AEPMA spokesman Mal Trotter said at first glance it may then seem logical that vendors should be required to provide copies of pest and building reports with the contract. But he points out that if that’s the case, the legal relationship shifts from the purchaser and the report provider to the vendor and the report provider.

“We believe this means that property buyers will have very limited rights of legal redress if a property report is subsequently found to be wrong or misleading and problems with the property are uncovered after change of ownership,” he said.

“If the relationship with the report provider changes from purchaser to vendor, there’s also some potential for bias towards the vendor to infiltrate the reports, particularly if real estate agents work with the same pest and building inspectors on behalf of their vendor clients.
“In fact, we believe very few buyers would be comfortable relying on a pest and building report supplied by the vendor and would order a report from a pest or building inspector of their choosing.”

However, if the government is determined to change the law, Trotter said a new industry code of practice covering inspections and report writing being developed by the industry would be better than the minimum level required by Standards Australia.